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Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Jets Crash, “Son” Rises

In Game Day Sweet, GAME DAY SWEET: 2012 Season on November 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

My Favorite Play? Why, The ‘Hail Mary!’ of course!

Well, that was a disaster for the New York Jets! They were beaten ‘Na,Na,Na, Na, Naa’ style, by  Tebow himself with a minute left to go. Could the Jets rally? What do you think?

I wasn’t  pissed that the Jets lost, as much as I was that the Broncos won.

It got me to thinking about what it is about Tim Tebow that is so polarizing? I had the definite feeling that I was watching a ‘show’  (maybe the 700 Club?) when Tebow started pointing up to the sky, praying, (re:’Tebowing’) and then skipped over to lead the prayer circle. He’s brought religion onto the field, and I guess he’ll keep bringing it. I don’t hate religion, or Jesus or God or whatever people choose to believe in, but personally I think we’re opening a can of worms in a neutral territory.

Does it ever occur to Timmy that if ‘Jesus’ or ‘God’ is on your side, that he has to be AGAINST the other guys? That God would have to actively DISLIKE all of the other teams and players, many who have had much harder struggles than you, to make it in the NFL….and isn’t it disturbing to think that Jesus plays favorites, even if you happen to be that favorite right now? Does it bother you that God is watching football rather than saving babies who have cancer, or stopping famine, or preventing the next Tsunami?

A rare glimpse of Tebow’s dog, Goliath,who “could walk to Hawaii, if he felt like it” according to Tim.

When Tebow left the field, and began his long, pious walk from the field, through the tunnel (for effect?) shedding his jersey, and leading a crowd of followers like an Under Armor Messiah back out onto the field (stopping to sign a shirt for a small child and his Dad, and conveniently ignoring the person next to them holding out a hat) I felt like I was watching a made-for-tv Lifetime Movie ‘God’s Quarterback: First and Ten Commandments’….and by the time he made it  to the sportscasters booth to be  praised, I half expected Mary Magdalene – or a Bronco’s cheerleader at least, to come over and wash his feet.

Tebow has lots of innovative ideas for Mile High Stadium. Here’s how he envisions the new uprights.

Tebow is is UBER-aware of what he is doing. He knows when the red light is on, and he plays to the camera. (though it might be entertaining, if he at least, pointed down when he threw an interception, or wiggled fake devil-horns with his fingers when he was sacked!)

I get the feeling there are a lot of people in Tebow’s life who are very vested in his ‘message’, and that they believe Tim is very ‘special’ and magnanimous, like a Christian Pied-Piper, or the first Pig-skin Preacher. And therein lies the rub.

See- I don’t want a sermon during my NFL games. I am often involved in very ‘heathen-like’ activities while switching off between actual games and the Red Zone, come Sunday afternoon. I may have a friendly bet going, I may be  tossing back a few alcoholic beverages, I’m definitely cursing my ass off (in a high sing-song voice for amazing plays and an angry croak for blown coverages) This is not the time for Reverend Snow to show up and find Jack, Janet and Chrissy ‘in the shower’. Game time runs rampant with possible ‘misunderstandings’, and I, for one, don’t want to be bummed out, or judged by Pastor Buzzkill. Or, God Forbid! be caught Roster-bating to my best friend ‘s Fantasy line-up!

So, forgive me, Tim- but I prefer the Neutral Zone, a place where we were all comfortable until you showed up. NFL means: ‘No Freakin’ Lectures’. I don’t want to have the feeling I get when there’s a cop behind me on the road. It’s not that I’m doing anything particularly wrong, but it’s been awhile since I looked at the rulebook. So please, Tim- lay off! In the name of the Gators, The Bronco’s and The Super Bowl. Amen.

‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Unbelievably Good!

In Sons Of Anarchy, Television on November 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

By unbelievably good- I mean that a) The show is literally un-believable, there is nothing resembling reality happening anywhere in the show and b) I am addicted to it, and happy to suspend dis-belief! I don’t even know where to start, because pointing out all of the things that don’t ring true would take forever. But it’s ‘good-bad’ and I love it. Let me start with some-ahem!- ‘bullet’ points:

THE TOWN OF CHARMING: This town is like a ghost town in an old John Wayne movie. Sure- you see some extras here and there, but for the most part, it’s either Biker Gangs or The Law. There are heinous crimes going on constantly: Shoot-outs, stabbings, decapitations, drive-by’s, prison shankings, brawls in the hospital, police chases,white supremacists, Cartel ‘business’, explosions,The IRA, rapes, and kidnappings galore. Compton is Martha’s Vinyard compared to this place. So, why are ‘Developers’ so hot to build in this town? I’d hate to see the Chamber of Commerce brochure!

THE SHOOT-OUTS: I have a silly habit of putting gold stars on my calendar, marking the days that I work-out at the gym. I wonder if maybe Jax has his own calendar, marking the days he’s involved in extreme shoot-outs? (Does Michael’s Crafts sell ‘machine gun’ stickers?) I’m pretty sure there is a shoot-out at least twice a week, and sometimes they involve military weapons. Last night for instance (the 90 min. special, 11/15) I felt I was watching ‘Sons of Apocalypse Now’. Jax literally ordered Military weaponry like a pizza (and acknowledged it as such)- but the only thing that ‘rang’ true was his first attempt at the call, after he discovered he had ‘lost service’ in the woods, during yet another gun battle. He borrowed the phone of an opposing gang member (will that come back to haunt him?) and called in ‘two rocket launchers, extra cheese’. But next time Jax, don’t go with Verizon. JAX: What a conundrum Mr. Jax is! When ‘Sons’ first began, he was sitting on the roof, underneath the stars, reading letters from his real father (now deceased-as far as we know!) all about how his ‘vision’ for the Club had gone awry with greed and crime. Jax-it seemed-was open to hold himself to a higher standard. One wondered if he might be a new kind of biker gang dude, free of criminal mischief, standing for the right thing, and looking like a hot combination of Kurt Cobain and Brad Pitt- ala -that- vampire- movie. Now- three seasons later, Jax has killed about 50 people, but thinks he can ‘cash out and move away’ someday soon, with his old lady, Tara and their two young sons. Sitting in a rocking chair, on the front porch, gazing out at the white picket fence in ‘Faraway-ville.” “Come sit at my knee, sons. Let Daddy tell you how he filleted the guy who tried to cross him.” Somehow- I’m not seein’ it. TARA: Tara popped up out of Jax’s past (they dated at sixteen) In the interim, Tara has become a very accomplished surgeon. In fact, she is a surgical phenom. Yet, she begins dating gang-member Jax, and enters into the whole ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ culture without batting an eye. So much for ‘first, do no harm.’  (Being a doctor in a biker gang actually comes in handy. She can fix all of the gang members after the shoot-outs!) Though she never seems happy (what a puss she has on that face most of the time!) she’s magnetically drawn to her Bad Boy, Jax (well- he is freakin’ hot! Got-dayum!))…….which gets her kidnapped (twice) fired, (once) and now, she may lose the use of her hand (after the most recent kidnapping)-which would render her unable to be a doctor anymore- but she still thinks her and Jax will live happily ever after. Soon as they move away. Unless Clay (Jax’s Stepfather) kills her- because he has a hit out on her- you know: typical bickering family stuff, happens every year at Thanksgiving in most families, right?……But, no one can tell her anything, and she won’t stop defending her choices, so go figure. I get that she’s in love- but what about the safety of those kids?

The Official Hat of ‘Babies NOT In Gangs’

THOSE KIDS: Let’s talk about those kids, please. First off- I’m not buying that Gemma (Katey Sagal, Jax’s mother and the kids grandmother) is watching them all by herself, ever! Maybe 45 minutes, here and there- at the most. She’s fully dressed to the Club 9’s and made-up, no less! I know they have a (somewhat invisible) Nanny now- but I love how kids on tv are such a non-factor- always conveniently out of the way pretty much always! Have you ever watched an infant along with a less than two year old for even a few hours?  Well I have, and believe me, there’s not enough vodka in the world to erase that memory. Gemma would lose her mind!  Ditto Jax. And again- Jax- in season one, went on and on and on about he didn’t want his sons to be in ‘Sons’. So what does he do? Put them in ‘Sons’ beanies from birth. (Sure- they’re cute knit caps-in fact, I’m sure you can buy them in the ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Fan shop, but still.) And here’s another thing: I know this is nit-picky, but who’s in charge of  the sets on this show? There has been a picture of a cartoon sun hanging on Gemma and Clay’s refrigerator, that I think they are trying to imply was drawn by the older kid (he’s less than two) There is simply no way! that child did that picture, unless he’s the next coming of Rembrandt. Last night there was yet another piece of artwork in the kid’s room, and it was easily drawn at a six year old’s level. (Prob. drawn by an adult ‘pretending’ to draw like a kid)They even showed the kid trying to draw in a coloring book once, and that little sucker was pounding that crayon all over the page, like a madman! Like that piano dude in ‘Reefer Madness!’ He was scribbling at best! and had no concept whatsoever of staying within the lines! So- I’m tellin’ ya- that was no ‘Sun of Anarchy! I KNOW this is a crazy detail, but things like that drive my eagle-eye batshit. Let me design those sets- I will get it right!

‘Everything’s peachy!’

GEMMA: The main question I ponder with Gemma is: ‘What’s in it for her?’ Through the seasons we’ve seen her: kidnapped, gang-raped (while hanging from a rope! By Henry Rollins which is way worse than listening to his poems!), shot at, physically abused and constantly looking over her shoulder. She spouts off about ‘The Family’ (SAMCRO) and loyalty, but leaves out all of the messy stuff, like the bloody murders,the  drugs, the  guns, the jail time, her husband’s extracurricular bj’s, and a host of other ‘pesky’ situations present in her daily life. She doesn’t have a big fancy house, doesn’t seem to have money to speak of – and though none of those things even come close to being ‘worth’ the hassles, at least they’d give me something to point to. Gemma’s life is exciting (well- it’s not boring!) but I look at her and think: ‘How EXHAUSTING would it be, to have that sort of lifestyle in your late forties, early fifties?’ Poor Gemma can’t just kick back and relax, and that, to me, is a certain kind of hell. I’m also concerned that Gem has become very numb to her predicament. After a recent drive -by shooting in the Son’s parking lot,and   after seeing perhaps seven or eight people get their brains blown out,splattering blood all over the yard (which led to a special chili recipe, heads above the usual, and quite possibly the secret recipe from Wendy’s)) she looked at Clay- terror in her saucer eyes and screamed: “Oh, no! Tonight’s the Garden Party!” in a way that hinted she doesn’t manage priorities all that well. She says she doesn’t care what anybody thinks of her- but God forbid the snobs at the Garden Party step in puddles of mud and blood! From what I can see, her lifestyle has left her weather beaten and literally beaten, and success to her, is simply being alive at the end of the day! CLAY:

Don’t believe Clay! He’s Lion!

Oh, wait! That’s not Clay, is it? Let me try that again:

‘Skip a Shoot-out again, and you’re GROUNDED!”

CLAY: Ah, Clay! What can one say? Your  average, run-of-the-mill monster? Much like Ron Pearlman’s other character, HELLBOY…..Clay seems to have been spurned in the flames of Hell. But unlike the red-faced Hellboy, Clay Morrow is nobody’s hero. Though there have been some tender moments with Clay- his arthritis flaring up, the pressures of the Club, some loving moments with Gemma- all of that has been cancelled out this season, starting when he killed his good friend Piney,continuing when he put a hit out on Jax’s old lady Tara, and then he ‘iced the cake’ by beating the living daylights out of Gemma. And that was all before breakfast! He has also incorporated the Cartel and their drugs into the Club, and lied his ass off about pretty much everything. Whatever loyalty or respect anyone may have felt for him in the previous seasons, has vanished. I can’t even imagine that he will survive this season, while at the same time, I can’t picture the show without him. He’s the kind of guy, who if you shook his hand would say- “Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my Name”

The 70’s called. It wants it’s jacket back!

THE LAW: I have to give props to whoever casts the “Law” in this show, particularly the past two seasons. This Lincoln Potter dude makes me want to jump over the interrogation table and punch him directly in his wise-ass mouth, even if it violates my probation! That smirk! That stare! Everything about him makes my skin crawl, from his smug way of speaking, to his inherent arrogance. What. A. Dick. He’s the kind of guy you can’t help fantasizing about…..Fantasizing about how he’ll be killed, that is. After last season, and a certain Agent June Stahl (or ‘Agent Crooked Mouth’ as I called her) tossed her silky hair all over the place, while planting evidence, black-mailing, and murdering her own girlfriend (not to mention, framing Gemma!) I can honestly say I had rarely been so excited and happy to imagine seeing someone’s brains splattered all over a windshield! I have a feeling I am in for exuberance of similar proportions come Mr. Potter’s final day. To which I wholeheartedly say: “Adios, Motherfucker!”

THE REST OF THE GANG: It’s quite the Motley Crew we have going here. But lest this overview take on ‘War & Peace’ proportions, I’m going to keep it short, with a few quick observations:

BOBBY MUNSON: I have to hand it to Bobby with the ‘most authentic’ Biker look. Absolutely the most believable. He’s got it going on, that way.

I’m ‘Evil Ritchie Blackmore’. And my Rainbow’s Rising!

TIG TRAGER: I’ll never completely forgive him for murdering those prostitutes in the first season (seemingly ‘for kicks’) but I’ve come to somehow like his character. Him and Gemma’s ‘bond’, his doll phobia, and watching him trip on mushrooms, have given me some laughs. He’s the quintessential freak. OPIE WINSTON: This guy is just plain scary, and I think it’s coz he has a ‘Taliban’ vibe of some sort. Maybe it’s the cap, but it plays into the climate of the times we live in, fair or not. His marriage to a porn star (sex-film actress-are they really all ‘stars?’) seems a bit forced…I just don’t see Opie taking lightly anyone else ‘up in there’ -but much like the porn companies filming in the background of many of the SOA scenes, it’s all a good excuse to zero in on porno-chicks and their firm, half-naked asses. Something for the boys. So why not?

‘I’m breakin’ the Chains’ Of conformity.

JUICE ORTIZ: Juice is living proof that the SOA can kill anyone except themselves. He’s been wired by the po-po,  stolen a brick of cocaine, killed an innocent man in order to frame him with the crime and failed at a suicide attempt (though I was glad to see he actually had a conscience) But after all- he’s grown up without a dad, so what do you expect? (har har) I couldn’t stand this guy through most of the seasons, but lately I am warming up to him (somewhat) Now-  if only he’d get rid of that skid-mark on his head! (and how does he keep that up so well, anyway? It’s meticulous!)

FINAL WORD: Despite all of the drama, the things that make no sense, the outlandishness-I truly love watching this show- and I’m willing to go wherever they take me. It’s ‘appointment’ TV!!

‘Bait and Switch’ (Follows ‘On To The Next One’)

In The 60's on November 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Friday Nights. The 70s. Partridge Family. Appointment TV.

I decided that the best way to entice Alex into forming a band was by bringing my Partridge Family ‘Up To Date’ record album to school. I felt it would automatically entitle me to speak with Alex, because The Partridge Family and record albums in general, were so universally revered in the third grade universe. My mother was adamantly against the idea and tried to talk me out of it, citing the chances of the album being damaged during the long school day. (Mom’s Prediction: 100% Probable) “You may as well be carrying an egg around school all day!” she huffed, but I did not see the connection (and what the heck did this have to do with breakfast?) She finally gave in to my incessant badgering after I promised that I would not ask for a new one when (not if) something happened to it.

“I’m in no mood for your hystrionics today, young lady!” she told me, like there was some special day when she was!

Complete with permanently sour smelling thermos.

‘Up To Date’ was, by far, my favorite album. I loved the cover artwork-individual squares featuring each Partridge Family member, as if on the hippest calendar ever! That sunny spring morning I set out: dented “Campus Queen’ lunchbox, which smelled faintly of sour milk, in one hand, and record album in the other. I quickly found myself holding the album across my chest, cover facing out- so as to declare my coolness to all passers-by and various school crossing guards, who did their best to act unimpressed and hide their jealousy. I walked with a bounce in my step, and basked in Partridge glory.

Ten minutes later, I arrived at school. I walked up the sun-dappled hill, the many crab-apple and maple trees forming a tunnel, following the sidewalk as it trailed up a steep hill, then leveled off and wound around the back of the school to the rear parking lot.

Here we would line up to socialize and wait for the morning bell to ring. Located in the actual parking lot, each classroom had a parking space, designated by the numbers on the curb, written in chalk, and subject to change. Luckily, there was a long line of yellow, plastic cones separating this section of the parking lot from the busy drop-off area, lest some stressed out parent in a wood paneled station wagon accidentally barrel through and mow down the entire student body. It was somewhat less than secure, but appreciated just the same.

Just as I predicted, the kids already in line for 3B immediately noticed my album, positioned as it was like a sandwich board across my chest. They clamored around me to examine my treasure up close. Bringing the record to school had been a genius idea! I thought, mentally dissing my mom.

“Wow!” said my BFF, Kristen,” I LOOOOOVE this! My Mom’s getting it for me,  when Bradlees does a sale!”

“Whoah!” said Renee Siegel, sounding bawdy, and exactly like Cher. She bobbed her head in even closer, like a free-reign ostrich at an animal park- zeroing in on David Cassidy, and licking her lips like a half-pint harlot. “He is so scorching hot!” she said, eyes a sparkle. I felt a twinge of possessiveness, and let out an involuntary little hiss.

Joe Smith, clearly perplexed and scratching his head, squinted his eyes and managed to bleat out “What the?…”-another insightful comment from his side of the peanut gallery. I had to scoot down considerably to let Lauren Goldman see it, as her eyes were level with my knees. Luckily, I happened to catch Barry Nelson, mid nose-pick, and milliseconds before he had the nerve to reach out and try to touch the cover with his nasty hand. I slapped it away, just in time.

“NO TOUCHING!” I bellowed, and the crowd scattered, like a flock of birds when the cat pounces.

Barry stood back and wiped his filthy hand across his Sears ‘Husky” sized, horizontal-striped shirt, and I made a mental note to have Kristen hit me up with a cootie shot later on. Better safe than sorry. This was going to be a long day, filled with hundreds of potential land mines, and most of them would be my fellow classmates.

‘Come ‘sale’ away!’

Since there was no sign of Alex yet, I spent the next few minutes perusing the lot and trying to show-off my record even more. Holding it against my chest and doing a slow spin, like one of those fancy restaurants on top of skyscrapers…very, v-e-r-y slowly displaying it in an eventual 180′, a gift to all gawkers. I felt as cool as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend,  getting busted at a Rolling Stones all- nighter, wearing only a fur coat and diamond necklace, as the Paparazzi rained flashbulbs upon her.  I could see the older kids-fifth graders- pointing and whispering -and the younger grades- well -who cared what they thought, really? All I could do was show them how it was done.

Finally, the bell rang, and the usual, semi- organized chaos ensued: Teachers barking out directions, instructing us on how to enter the building as if we’d never been there before. Like cops in rough neighborhoods, the teachers and assorted school personnel  were no-nonsense, and took an overly serious,  hysterical stance.

‘Move to the RIGHT!! Keep MOVING!! Go Directly To Your Cubbies! NO TALKING!”

All of them yelling and carrying on as if the bell had been a fire alarm. Sometimes, if gym teachers were involved-we even had whistles blown at us! Sheesh! All they were missing were the billy clubs and hoses. What did they think we were going to do? Veer out of line and slam into the brick building, like birds into freshly wiped windows? Sit down in circles and stage a hippie protest? Demand Equal Rights? Or any other unspeakable, liberal acts that might separate us from the sheep herd we were expected to be? It was a very stressful way to start the morning, and was the very essence of getting bossed around.  Unfortunately, it often set the tone for the day.

Teachers waiting for the morning bell to ring….

It was during this confusion that a very sour turn of events occurred. As I began to march into the school like a good little soldier, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Glancing down- almost as if in slow motion- I saw my Partridge Family disc slip free of the sleeve and crash onto the concrete sidewalk! A large split in the black vinyl appeared (coinciding with the one in my heart) during the first, gruesome slow-bounce, followed by three or four shorter hops, as shiny, black shrapnel exploded to the left and right, until, like a bullet ridden cowboy in a spaghetti western, the album spun several times and then flopped onto its side,  dead as a doornail.

My heart stopped, then reluctantly resumed beating with slow, chest thumping croaks. I felt faint. I collapsed to the ground, pebbles and dirt embedding into my bare knees (I was wearing a plaid jumper and-no longer- white knee-highs) but I barely noticed the pain.

I tried to make some sense of the horror I had just witnessed, and went through the first four stages of grief in about fifteen seconds. ‘This isn’t happening! God-damn it! Maybe my Dad can fix it with Super-Glue? I’m gonna kill myself!’ Acceptance would have to wait.

As predicted by ‘Mom-stradamus’

As I knelt on the ground, an army of kids legs marched by me on either side, trooping towards the door. It sounded like the bell-ringing, chattering children  in “Another Brick In The Wall’, and it irritated me even more than that song eventually did. (By the way, Pink Floyd: Life Sucks. Everyone’s Against Me! We’re All Gonna Die And It’s All For Nothing Anyway! Thanks for the info!)

When the wave of students subsided, Mrs. Cantarow remained, holding open the heavy entrance door with her back pressed against against it, motioning at me like an air-traffic controller:

“Young Lady! Get inside immediately!…NOW! (If ya don’t eat yer meat, ya can’t have any pudding!) I looked from her, to my broken record, and back, frozen in fear and sadness. I couldn’t just leave the ‘body’ there!

“I SAID-GET IN HERE!”she bellowed, arms up, palms to the sky as if to say: “Hey Dummy! Do YOU understand the WORDS that are coming out of my MOUTH??” She sounded thoroughly disgusted- as if I’d been caught loitering on a street corner, taunting passers-by with a three card Monte trick, wearing a ‘School Sucks’ t-shirt, a pack of L&M’s rolled up in one sleeve.

Here I was mourning my most prized possession, quickly scraping up pieces of vinyl and gravel and all she could do was shriek. I wondered when she last got a tune-up on her broom, and pictured a black, pointy hat on her head. It fit perfectly.

Mrs. Cantarow BEFORE I dropped my record….

Mrs. Cantarow AFTER I dropped my record….

I dragged myself up, making a last ditch effort to salvage what I could of my ruined record, mostly the big, pathetic pieces. I then dramatically trudged down the sidewalk towards the open door as though wading through quicksand. I half-expected Cantarow to swat me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, not caring if she did. Behind me, a trail of vinyl crumbs mixed with broken dreams. I had no idea how I was going to hold back the tantrum that was brewing inside me until I was safely at home, hours from now. (There, I would ‘gift’ my mother’s afternoon with my Sarah Bernhardt caliber hysterics, while begging for a new copy of ‘Up To Date’ until she finally agreed to possibly get me a new one “when Bradlees has a sale!”)

“I can’t LIVE without my album!- I can’t LIVE! *sigh*

Naturally- as luck would have it, the day was full of reminders of my tragedy. Since it was Friday, there was lots of talk about watching ‘The Partridge Family’ that night, right after the Brady Bunch, but even the more subtle links felt like knives in my already bruised heart. Learning about birds in Science, ‘Partridge’ made the list in my textbook (Did you know that the plump little partridge is easily recognized by it’s unusual orange face? How could you not think Danny Bonaduce after reading that?!) I was unreasonably disgusted with a kid named Keith during gym class (the shorts didn’t help!) and Renee Siegel (herself with a bird name- the kind we all fed french fries to at the beach!) had the nerve to start whistling ‘I’ll Meet You Halfway’ while drawing ‘My Favorite Food’ during Art class! She then went on to draw an ice-cream cone- (how original!) Mine-a slice of white-bread and glass of plain water Still Life spoke to the prison that was my mind, stuck behind bars where the vision of my album dropping played on a continuous loop. Neither one of us made the board.

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